He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.( John 3:29-36)
Forty years before the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem, in 70 ad, there was an awakening in Judea. A prophet had been raised up, in the character of Elijah, warning of judgment and calling men to repentance, and preparation for the onset of the Kingdom of God. John the Baptist ministered in the harsh Judean wilderness by the side of the Jordan river.
Without Radio, Newspapers or any form of mass communication, virtually all of Judea flocked out to him, crossing the Jordan river, from west to east, thus reversing the path of Joshua and Israel, only to cross back over again, after hearing the Word of God and many being baptized of John. The idea of John’s baptism was a new start, going back outside of the promised land (voluntary exile) and after repenting, entering back in again.
John The Baptist was being informed about another preacher, who had begun drawing greater crowds as John’s crowds decreased. His disciples were concerned that the prophet was being eclipsed by this new preacher, but not John.
He referred to the remnant congregation of repentant Jews as ‘the Bride’, drawing on so much imagery from the Prophets.
Who has the Bride? Only the Bridegroom. In Jesus, the Bridegroom has come back to Judea to receive his Bride.
Who was John The Baptist? He was not the Messiah, the true Groom.
John the Baptist called himself the “friend of the Bridegroom”, i.e. the “Best Man”, whose task was to prepare the Bride for the arrival of the groom.The Joy of the friend of the Bridegroom is to hear the voice of the groom, and to step back and defer to the groom in everything. “He must increase and I must decrease”.
Who ever heard of a “Best Man” at a wedding, wooing the Bride and claiming her as his own? The bet man goes before the groom, preparing the Bride and the guests for the arrival of the groom.
John tells us, that the groom “comes down from above..”, therefore He speaks heavenly things , things difficult for earthbound people to receive. Only a heavenly people could resonate with what the Groom has to say, the bride and groom speak their own language, and understand their own terms.
Those receptive to the testimony of Jesus are a remnant in this world of the lie. They constitute the Bride of Christ. By identifying with Jesus, the groom, they are justifying God in what He is saying, because they recognize that Jesus is speaking the Word of God.
Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. (Matthew 9:14-15)
Here Jesus refers to himself as the Bridegroom. When he was here with his disciples, it was feasting time, but now that he is gone temporarily, we must deny ourselves , until HE returns. The wedding is coming soon enough, the Groom is preparing himself, and so also the true Bride.
I have a friend who is a musician, Paul Clark, who wrote a little poem and set it to music,
Do not lose Heart,
He’s coming as you have heard,
Continue in your part…
The Bride Groom knocks,
upon Earth’s door,
He is searching for Hearts,
To be his evermore…